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The State of the Art Paperback – May 27 1993


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit (May 27 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857230302
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857230307
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #70,494 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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First Sentence
The ride's a little bumpy on the famous Road of Skulls... "My God, what's happening!" Sammil Mc9 cried, waking up. Read the first page
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Sept. 22 1998
Format: Hardcover
If you're not already a Banks fan, this book won't make you one (that would be "The Player of Games", "Canal Dreams", "The Brige", or "Use of Weapons," depending on your taste). But if you liked "Use of Weapons", "State of the Art" is worth it just for the title story, which has Diziet Sma aboard a GCU orbiting Earth in the 1970s. The intervene
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Format: Paperback
There are a few versions of this floating around. The one pictured on top of this page is the one I'll be talking about and is a collection of short fiction. There's at least one other published earlier that only contains the title story. "The State of the Art" is probably what this book is best known for, it's over a hundred pages long and thus dominates by far all of the other stories in the volume. It's also by far the best, probably because the length allows Banks to really run with his ideas and themes. Basically his ultra-advanced Culture runs into Earth circa 1977 and decides to hang around and observe for a bit. This allows Banks to indulge in quite a bit of social commentary in the form of "aliens telling us what we do wrong" but he keeps it balanced,... some of the Culture think Earth is a great place and there are more than a few arguments that the Culture itself is stifling and stagnant (not that these are new arguments to anyone who has read the other Culture novels), all in all it feels like a complete novel as opposed to a novella, and just about everything works. The book is worth it just for that story. Fortunately the others are all pretty decent, most are pretty short and thus don't have as much impact either because they're just downright weird (the one with the sentinent tree or whatever was just odd) or experimental (the last story especially, I suspect I missed a wagon-load of comments on British society) but most of the others, such as the other Culture story or the guy stuck in the astronaut suit work just right and show the depth and extent of Banks' vision. He's not concerned with working in just SF or just genre fiction or "just" anything, his stories run the gamut and are unmistakeably his, in whatever genre or strange mix thereof. These new to Banks would be wise to sample this and see what he's capable of before moving onto the (hard as it is to believe) vastly better novels. I wish I could say he's underrated, but it wouldn't be true.
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Format: Hardcover
ok, so this book was one of the first i read after the bridge, inversions and feersum endjinn. I naturally prefer iain m banks' SF novels as they are so detailed and although this is a short story it has a very big emotional impact(or it did for me personally). It is (in brief) about aliens (the culture) deciding whether to land on earth and what effect it may have if it chooses to. Its main focus is how the mentally inferior human race would handle it if aliens did settle on the planet. I found it quite upsetting to read from a point of view which looks at earth as more of a disease than a blessing and it is disturbing to reaslise how detructive people can be. It brings all this to light and as you progress through the story you realise that the aliens perception of humans being blind to change and thinking they are the only race out there is accurate, which is fairly shocking to read. This book is accurate in its description of the human species and soon the story being told becomes almost irrelevant as this novel really gets into your mind. It is short and, as they say, straight to the point. Brace yourself for some subtle but emotional reading!
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Format: Hardcover
...this is not a collection. There is a short-story collection of Banks', but it was only released by his British publisher (Orbit, in 1991). That collection is also called The State of the Art (the title novella does takes up close to 2/3 of the book...)... Any edition that is from 1989, or published by Mark V Ziesing, is the origional American version and only contains the novella.
Hope that helps out.
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Format: Hardcover
Adult and young adult fans of fiction in the disturbing tradition of Roald Dahl will appreciate this collection of short stories.
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